Practice Log 2015.08.10-16

Monday 08.10
20:55-21:45 (50 min)
Instrument(s): guitar, Chapman Stick
Guitar: 15 min practicing chords from songs “We Could Share”, “Beautiful in Black”, and “Swamp”.
Chapman Stick: 35 min practicing “Fix It” playing both hands and singing, and trying to incorporate lead break in its proper place. Mostly practicing changeover from vamp to lead break and back to vamp. Also a couple of minutes playing “Night Ride Home” left hand chords.

Tuesday 08.11
21:30-22:15 (45 min)
Instrument(s): guitar, Chapman Stick
Guitar: 25 min; don’t remember what (typing this Thursday 8.13)
Chapman Stick: 15 min; got tired and went to bed.

Wednesday 08.12
21:00-21:30 (30 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” main chord sequence, work on switching to and from lead break. Also a little time on “The Monster Song” lead break.
Before instrument practice, some work on stitching together a drum arrangement for “Peter’s Lament” in Audacity.

Thursday 08.13
21:30-22:05 (35 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick, guitar
Stick: 30 min, “Fix It” main chord sequence, work on switching to and from lead break. Also a little time on “The Monster Song” lead break.
Guitar: 5 min; random noodling and riffing, and lead line to “Peter’s Lament”.
Before instrument practice, another attempt to stitch together a drum arrangement for “Peter’s Lament” in Audacity. Better than last night’s effort, but still needs fine-tuning.

Friday 08.14
21:30-22:05 (35 min)
Instrument(s): guitar
random practice before bed, after coming home from seeing a movie.

Saturday 08.15
19:30-20:00 (30 min)
Instrument(s): guitar
Noodling through AmpliTube to settle on a tone, and rhythm guitar riff, for the “Ralph Bakshi” remix.

22:15-22:45 (35 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” practice switching between main chord sequence and from lead break. “The Monster Song” main verse/chorus sequence and some practice of lead break.

Sunday 08.16
18:00-18:30 (30 min)
Instrument(s): guitar
More work on the “Ralph Bakshi” remix, settled on an auto-wah tone and recorded some rhythm strumming of two different voicings of chords.

Practice Log 2015.08.03-09

Monday 08.03
Fuck-all. Still recovering from a week of County Fair Hell; no time to practice.

Tuesday 08.04
21:24-21:54 (30 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” playing both hands and singing, and trying to incorporate lead break in its proper place.
“The Monster Song” playing both hands and singing, trying to incorporate lead break in proper place.
A couple of minutes playing harmonic minor scale on treble strings starting with first finger.

Wednesday 08.05
21:25-22:05 (40 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
A couple of minutes playing chords of “What I’ve Done”.
“Fix It” playing both hands and singing, and trying to incorporate lead break in its proper place.
“The Monster Song” playing both hands and singing, trying to incorporate lead break in proper place.

Thursday 08.06
21:35-22:05 (30 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” playing both hands, practicing change from vamp to lead break and back again.

Friday 08.07
20:45-22:25 (40 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” playing both hands, practicing change from vamp to lead break and back again.
“The Monster Song” practicing lead break, particularly left hand, sometimes also playing whole-note right hand chords.

Saturday 08.08
21:30-22:02 (32 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” playing both hands, practicing change from vamp to lead break and back again.
“The Monster Song” practicing lead break, particularly left hand, sometimes also playing whole-note right hand chords.
A couple of minutes practicing left hand 2-octave scales starting with first finger, major and harmonic minor.

Sunday 08.09
14:40-15:10 (30 min)
Instrument(s): guitar
Practice fingering open position and barre chords, and playing 2-octave major scales. Some attempts to work out fingering for harmonic minor scales.
Half-assed attempts at pieces of “Medusa”, “Peter’s Lament”, and “Innocent Victim”.

17:58-18:14 (16 min)
Instrument(s): guitar
Practice fingering open position and barre chords (changes to “Beautiful in Black” and “We Could Share”), and playing 2-octave major scales.
Half-assed attempts at intro to “Innocent Victim”. Also noticed slight buzz on B string. 😦

21:46-22:18 (32 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“The Monster Song” lead break, some outchorus.
“Fix It” lead break, practice integrating lead break, run through of whole song.

Practice Log 2015.07.19-25

Sunday 07.19
~15:45-16:40 (start time approximate; about an hour practice)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“Fix It” with special attention to left hand bass part for lead break, and some work on lead break with both hands together.
“The Monster Song” with special attention to left hand lead break, and some work on lead break with both hands together.

Sunday 07.19
20:55-21:40 (45 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“The Monster Song” with special attention to left hand bass part for lead break, and some work on lead break with both hands together.
“Fix It” mostly playing the vamp and singing, and some work on lead break with both hands together.

Monday 07.20
21:20-21:55 (35 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“The Monster Song” with special attention to lead break with both hands together.
“Fix It” mostly playing the vamp and singing, and some work on lead break with both hands together.

Tuesday 07.21
21:47-22:26 (39 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“The Monster Song” mostly work on lead break with both hands together. Also some work on the outchorus and some practice playing the main verse and chorus.
“Fix It” mostly work on lead break with both hands together, and some practice playing the main section.

Wednesday 07.22
I’m a lazy asshole.
The closest I got to practicing tonight was listening to “Riding Tigers” by Slapp Happy on YouTube three times in a row, paying close attention to the instrumental. This song is on the list of pieces I want to learn and perform on Stick, though it is a more advanced tune than the ones I’m currently working on.

Thursday 07.23
21:47-22:34 (47 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“The Monster Song” primarily worked on lead break with both hands together; some work on verse/chorus and the chord break between chorus 2 and verse 3.
“Fix It” worked only on lead break.

Friday 07.24
22:35-22:55 (20 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“What I’ve Done” lead line and left hand chords.
“Fix It” a couple of minutes on lead break both hands.
“The Monster Song” only a couple runs through the lead break.

Saturday 07.25
08:41-09:00 (19 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“What I’ve Done” mostly left hand chords and some coordinating with right hand
“Monster Song” about a minute on lead break.

Saturday 07.25
21:09-21:46 (37 min)
Instrument(s): Chapman Stick
“What I’ve Done” lead line and left hand chords; also playing lead line over single-finger bass to facilitate finding left hand chord positions by touch.
“Fix It” playing both hands and singing, and trying to incorporate lead break in its proper place.
“The Monster Song” playing both hands and singing, trying to incorporate lead break in proper place.

Tomorrow (Sunday 07.26) will be last opportunity to practice until August (Monday 08.03); other obligations prevent setting aside any time.

Lights, Camera, Whatever

Stick practice continues apace; I think I might have missed a day sometime last week but those lapses are rare. Continuing to practice “Fix It” and “Night Ride Home” and a couple of days ago added “The Monster Song” to the routine. Also have started to practice singing “Fix It” while playing.
Yesterday afternoon I propped the iPhone on the computer desk and recorded myself playing and singing a few bars of “Fix It” mostly as a proof-of-concept, to check the overall sound quality as well as the balance between instrument and vocal. Overall not bad, though the thickest bass string clicks loudly against the fret rails.
Since the iPhone as I have it set up won’t let me post video to teh PhizBuk (I use the Chrome browser and not the FB app) I repeated the experiment today with the iPad, and sang in full voice rather than the halfhearted first take on the iPhone. Hoping with a couple more weeks’ practice I might be able to record an actual-by-doG performance and upload to teh YooToobz.

Also today I started on Bob Culbertson’s video Stick lessons on teh YooToobz. He has a playlist on his channel that collects them all, but they’re strangely out of sequence – like for example the “Getting Started” lesson is fourth in the list. WTF Culbertson?

Okay, back to it; get in maybe 20 minutes before bedtime.

Do You Hear Crickets?

This past weekend I put the cover of “Fix It” on the back burner and worked on another song, also featuring Chapman Stick as the main instrument. This is a cover of “Night Ride Home”, the title track of Joni Mitchell’s 1990 album. Posted to Soundcloud this morning.

Still using the technique of recording the Stick parts piecemeal and stitching them together in Caustic for Android. This time I recorded both hands simultaneously through the Scarlett 2i2, and used Audacity to split the two channels into two separate recordings. This resulted in each part having a little bleed-through from the other half of the instrument, making it sound a little more natural and “live”.
Still sliced each recording into pieces for importing to the PCMSynth in Caustic, between 9 and 12 iterations of each chord for each hand, and arranged into several sequenced patterns so as to sound less like a looped recording.
The vocals are okay, though the high G in the verses is near the top end of my range and the tone is not great. I’ll get better eventually. I even spent some of my Amazon app store credit to buy an app for vocal warm-ups; we’ll see how that goes.

Church of the Instrumentality

At long last I’ve been recording through the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface that I got last December. The current project is a cover of “Fix It” by Psapp, with a Chapman Stick arrangement and some supporting keyboard (organ and maybe some pad as well) plus a basic drum beat programmed in Caustic.

I started with each side of the Stick output plugged into one of the 2i2 channels and recorded in Audacity for Windows, about a month ago. More recently, a couple of weeks ago AmpliTube for iOS was a featured free app (normally $20) so I grabbed that and started putting the melody strings of the Stick through the iRig into my iPad running AmpliTube.

I still can’t play the arrangement live, so I started with fingering each individual chord and sounding it multiple times, with a metronome set to the song’s tempo (102), with the resultant recording to be sliced in Audacity and stitched together in Caustic as PCMSynth samples.
Fake it until you can make it, right?
At first I did both hands at once – holding the bass chord while tapping off-beat eighth-note chords in the treble – but soon decided to record each hand separately so that I could adjust the balance between the two more easily. I’ve even more recently thought of importing each hand into a separate PCMSynth so that I can treat each part with a different effects chain and mixer channel.

As a leftover from the both-hands-at-once recording technique, I left both Stick outputs plugged into the Scarlett with the treble being processed through the iPad and the bass recording dry. Now I want to re-record the bass parts again, putting them through the iPad as well – AmpliTube has one bass amp setup available without any further in-app purchases, though I think I’ll keep any effects in Caustic since slicing and looping a processed source signal might show some obvious artifacts.

Once the Stick parts are recorded to my satisfaction, I’ll work on playing the keyboard through the 2i2 as well, rather than just program synth parts in Caustic. I’m planning that the beatbox will be the only Caustic native instrument I use on this track.
Also this will be the first time I record vocals through the Scarlett, which should yield much better results than just plugging into the computer’s mic input.